Category Archives: Science

Water Policy and the Drought

8232If you’ve spent anytime in California in the last few years, you know this: California is in the midst of a severe drought. But while the lack of rainfall is not in dispute, there is widespread disagreement on how to respond.

A panel convened for Cal Day at UC Berkeley explores policy options that could attract support throughout the state, even from groups with conflicting interests. These experts argue that despite the diversity of perspectives in California, the state is well-positioned to achieve bipartisan consensus on solutions that will affect everyone.

Just what do they have in mind? Watch Water Policy and the Drought to find out!

Browse more programs from The Public Policy Channel.


New Smart Puppy Episodes!

8232Holy hairball! Smart Puppy and Friends are back – this time enlisting friends from around the globe to have fun and introduce viewers to the basics of some fascinating facets of material science.


No, really it’s a goofy romp, and you might learn something you didn’t know you could learn from a talking Labrador puppy and some cuddly kittens.

With guest vignettes featuring Nobel Laureates smashing computer drives and tossing soccer balls, and Tel-Aviv University’s impresario of levitation Boaz Almog pulling some hijinks with a fantastic frozen flying saucer – Smart Puppy and Friends have a blast showing off some of the weird and wonderful things stuff can do when their inquisitive friends around the world get a hold of them.

Watch Smart Puppy now!


The Future of Visual Computing

8232At the newly launched UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing – or VisComp – researchers are building a future when photograph-quality images can be rendered instantly on mobile devices; a future in which computers and wearable devices have the ability to see and understand the physical world just as humans do; and a future in which real and virtual media content merge seamlessly across different platforms.

The opportunities in communication, health and medicine, city planning, entertainment, 3D printing and more are vast in this emerging field of ‘visual computing’ that pulls together computer vision, computer graphics, and virtual reality.

The director of VisComp and professor of Computer Science and Engineering Ravi Ramamoorthi, who produced breakthroughs that are now widely adopted by the movie and video game industries to recreate the visual appearance of the world, is
joined by two other faculty members on the interdisciplinary roster of VisComp: Cognitive Science professor Zhuowen Tu, and Qualcomm Institute research scientist Jurgen Schulze, who also teaches computer graphics in the Computer Science and Engineering department.

In a wide-ranging conversation about the future of visual computing, they discuss the advances on which they are working in distinct areas such as computer graphics, computer vision, computational imaging and augmented and virtual reality – and the kinds of devices and applications we’ll be seeing in the future.

Watch Computing Primetime: Visual Computing and browse other programs in the Computing Primetime series.


Contributed by Producer, Rich Wargo


Understand Climate Change – and What You Can Do About It

Learn more about climate change with new programs that examine its impact from a variety of perspectives. Discover how humans and climate interact and affect one another, learn what you can do to reduce greenhouse emissions, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Pope’s call to protect the environment.

8232Climate Change, Consumerism and the Pope with Daniel Kammen and Jennifer Granholm

After being summoned to the Vatican to advise on climate change, Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley shares an insider’s view on what inspired Pope Francis to issue such a passionate plea to protect the earth in Laudato Si, his 2015 encyclical on the environment. As a practicing Catholic, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm praises the Pope for presenting “human ecology” as a moral issue in this lively exchange with Kammen and Henry E. Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Watch Climate Change, Consumerism and the Pope with Daniel Kammen and Jennifer Granholm.

8232What Are You Going to Do About It? The Effect of Uncertainty on Climate Change Policy

Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions imposes costs now in order to avoid potentially very large costs from more severe climate change in the future. Steve Polasky, Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics University of Minnesota, reviews major sources of uncertainty and how that alters the choice of optimal climate change policy. He discusses current debates on how best to frame climate change policy, and whether it should be framed as setting limits on greenhouse gas concentrations to avoid potentially catastrophic damages or as an application of benefit-cost analysis.

Watch What Are You Going to Do About It? The Effect of Uncertainty on Climate Change Policy.

8232CARTA: Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution: Past and Future

According to earth scientists, paleontologists, and scholars in other fields, the planet has entered a new geological phase – the Anthropocene, the age of humans. How did this transition of our species from an apelike ancestor in Africa to the current planetary force occur? What are the prospects for the future of world climate, ecosystems, and our species? This symposium presents varied perspectives on these critical questions from earth scientists, ecologists, and paleoanthropologists.

Watch CARTA: Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution: Past and Future.

Check out all of the programs in Understanding Climate Change.


The Amazing Diversity of Fishes!

8232The aquatic world presents the widest diversity of habitats, so it’s no surprise that fishes have come to present the widest diversity of vertebrate species.

From the darkest depths to tropical shores, there are more than 33,000 species of living fishes, accounting for more than half of the extant vertebrate diversity on Earth.

For years, Curator of Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Marine Vertebrate collection, Phil Hastings, has been immersed in the systematics and phylogeny of fishes, their marine biogeography, and the ecology and behavioral evolution of fishes, and takes you on a tour of what makes this most diverse array of animals.

Watch The Amazing Diversity of Fishes.

Browse more programs from Perspectives on Ocean Science.